DHS Secretary Chertoff on REAL ID's "COUNTLESS OTHER" USES.


Friday, November 30, 2007

State Senator Mike Folmer (Pennsylvania) Introduces Anti-REAL ID Legislation

For Release November 14, 2007:
HARRISBURG – Senator Mike "Citizen Mike" Folmer (R-Lebanon) today announced he is introducing legislation which would exempt Pennsylvania from a federal mandate requiring the establishment of a national identification card.

"In the post-9-11 era, there is the sense by some that we should strip away privacy rights, if that's perceived as what's necessary to stave off terrorism," Folmer said. "A national ID system will redefine privacy as we know it, create a mountain of new bureaucracy and increase fees and taxes – without making us any safer."

Folmer noted that ID documents don't reveal anything about evil intent. "Even with a reliable list of terrorists, the authorities will miss anyone who is not previously known to be a threat, he added. "The terrorists are patient. They'll do whatever it takes to legally maneuver around whatever roadblocks we put up."

Four states – South Carolina, New Hampshire, Maine, and Montana – have already enacted statutes precluding their compliance with the federal REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005 in response to recommendations from the 9-11 Commission.

Specifically, the federal REAL ID Act mandates that states turn driver's licenses into a national identity card. Under enforcement of REAL ID, state driver's licenses will not be accepted for federal purposes – including boarding an aircraft or entering a federal facility – unless they meet numerous criteria, including:

They must reveal standard information such as full legal name, gender, address, date of birth, photograph and signature.

They must contain a "machine readable zone" that allows for the easy capture of all the data on the ID by stores or anyone else with a reader.

Additionally, REAL ID requires that:

Each state establish the ability to provide all the other states with access to the information contained in its motor vehicle database - creating, in effect, a single nationally distributed database operated by the states.

States retain a digital scan of source identity documents – including birth certificates and Social Security cards – for at least 10 years (or a paper copy for seven years).

The federal requirements under REAL ID would be completely unfunded mandates that would impose a significant financial burden on Pennsylvania. The National Governor's Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the American Association of Motor Vehicles predict that REAL ID will cost states $11 billion. The State of Virginia estimates its compliance costs to be in the neighborhood of $240 million.

REAL ID further threatens privacy rights by opening the door to the empowerment of the Department of Homeland Security to collect biometric data – including fingerprints and eye scans – as well as placing Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips in every American's driver's license.

REAL ID offers no controls on what confidential data can be collected from driver's licenses, where and how long it can be stored, and who is authorized to obtain, share, trade or sell that information.

Folmer's legislation is supported by a number of groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and National Veterans Committee on Constitutional Affairs, which are concerned with the privacy repercussions of the federal government having the power to track our whereabouts every second of the day.

Folmer said instead of REAL ID, Americans need to be vigilant, and exercise their right to self-protection. He added that America must get serious about cracking down on illegal immigration.

Also, here is a PODCAST about Senator Folmer's concerns.

Thanks to The Commonwealth Foundation Blog for the tip.

A Video on REAL ID from the Cato Institute

The post, "More on REALID," at the Commonwealth Foundation contains a video by Jim Harper.

I encourage you to watch it and consider some key issues about REAL ID.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We’ve sold our secrets for a walletful of plastic

Richard Morrison wrote an interesting and entertaining piece for the TimesOnline, UK:
There are no “Chinese walls” in the secrets business. What your credit card supplier knows about you, the entire retail industry knows. That’s why talk of a national ID card revealing only “limited information” about you is hogwash. One database leads to another. A “guarantee of confidentiality” on a contract requiring you to divulge yet more information about yourself is not worth the paper it’s written on. Especially, given the apparently lax controls in the public sector, if that guarantee comes from HM Revenue and Customs or the National Health Service. You would have more chance of keeping personal details out of the hands of crooks if you got yourself a megaphone and broadcast them from Speaker’s Corner.
I encourage you to read more here.

As always, the issue isn't just "privacy." The issue is freedom--especially when it comes to REAL ID and similar issues.

Do we still believe in freedom?

Two Spin-Off Stories from UK's Privacy Distaster

Story #1:

UK's Privacy Chernobyl (Bruce Schneier)
...[T]he UK's loss of 25 million child benefit records -- including dates of birth, addresses, bank account information, and national insurance numbers -- is turning into a privacy disaster, threatening to derail plans for a national ID card.
Read more here.


Story #2:

Government offered alternative national ID scheme that doesn’t require national database (ComputerWeekly.com)
A biometric security firm is pitching a national identity scheme designed to allay fears caused by the government holding and trying to manage a national identity base.

The biometric smartcard system proposed by UK Biometrics is being promoted as the government tries to address the outcry caused by HMRC losing the child benefit records of 25m people.
Read more here.

Americans should learn from the UK about how invasive identity cards can be. The ComputerWeekly story points out that governments want to reduce citizens to the level of a can of soup: "Scannable" at any time:
When required by police or authorities to positively identify themselves, the card holder would slot their smart card into a hand-held biometric scanner, place their fingertip onto the reader and have their identity confirmed.
Before jumping off the biometric cliff, lemming-like--maybe we should rethink the importance of the 4th Amendment and our heritage of freedom.

Our freedom has cost an awful lot. I'd hate to toss it away.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Senator calls for Real ID rebellion

Here is another measure of good news reported by the Evening Sun (Serving the greater Hanover and Gettysburg Area).

It sounds like one, lone Republican has remembered from whence he came:
A midstate senator wants Pennsylvania to join a list of states rebelling against a federal law calling for new identification cards that have been likened to a national driver's license.

Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, unveiled a bill Wednesday that would preclude Pennsylvania from complying with the Real ID Act, approved by Congress in 2005.
By RICHARD FELLINGER Article, Launched: 11/17/2007 04:05:42 AM EST

For more information, go here--and hope for success in Pennsylvania.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

S. 717: Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2007

From GovTrack.us:

"A bill to repeal title II of the REAL ID Act of 2005, to restore section 7212 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which provides States additional regulatory flexibility and funding authorization to more rapidly produce tamper- and counterfeit-resistant driver's licenses, and to protect privacy and civil liberties by providing interested stakeholders on a negotiated rulemaking with guidance to achieve improved 21st century licenses to improve national security."

For more information on this bill, go here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

GOP split on repeal of Real ID

The Washington Times reports that The GOP is split on repeal of Real ID
Congressional Republicans are scrambling to defuse the political time bomb they created in 2005 when they allowed states to issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens — but a key Republican and author of the Real ID Act says their new bill is unconstitutional.

"Driver's licenses are issued by the states, not the federal government. I do not believe it is constitutional for the federal government to tell the states who they can issue driver's licenses to and who they can't issue driver's licenses to," said Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the Wisconsin Republican who wrote the 2005 law and its provision allowing states the option of giving licenses to illegal aliens.
Read more here.

I find it ironic that Sensenbrenner is getting all "Constitutional" about the issue now.

The current debate is about giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. But it strikes at the deeper issues of federalism, freedom, and the massive growth in power and scope of the federal government. People who call themselves "conservative" and sling around words like "Constitution" better figure out what their doing PDQ.

We better make sure that the cure for illegal immigration isn't worse than the problem.

Also, I'm simultaneously amused and dismayed at the willingness of Sensenbrenner to engage in ad hominem slaps at regular Americans who still love the antiquated idea of freedom:
"If there's a national policy then a driver's license becomes a national ID card," he said, adding that "ends up playing into the fears of the ACLU and the people on the far right that the Real ID is in fact a national ID card."
Translation: The ideal of limited government and the Bill of Rights (esp. 4th Amendment), are now the realm of the "far right."

Mr. Sensenbrenner must have a new twist on conservative philosophy: Freedom is no longer tied to the concept of "limited government." Freedom is now tied to the concept of an "ever-present Washington." This kind of thinking can only come from someone who has been in Washington too long.

Finally, Mr. Sensenbrenner should be careful of expressing concerns over the Constitution and federalism. Someone may label him as "far right."

Oh well...

(See why REAL ID is indeed a national id card.)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Illegal Immigration is No Excuse for Totalitarianism

Oklahoma recently passed a new law aimed at illegal immigration in the state.

While some measures may be necessary, I'm troubled by the response of many Americans--including fellow Repubicans and so-called "conservatives."

My statement is simple:

If the illegal immigrant is the one breaking the law, the illegal immigrant should carry the burden for breaking that law.

American citizens should not become the target of drastic measures.

I'm concerned that the fight against illegal immigration is resulting in an assault on American liberty. Presidents and Congresses have failed to do their job at the border, and now they want to tighten laws around the lives of innocent Americans.

The following requirements of Oklahoma's law is a burden on the back of normal Americans:
Create a state felony offense for persons who knowingly harbor, transport, conceal or shelter illegal aliens. Each offense is punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

As a conservative, evangelical Christians in America, I find the above requirement to be a real problem.

If a person is in real need--the churches in Oklahoma should help him, illegal immigrant or not. The other day I saw a news story where one of the sponsors of Oklahoma's new bill threatened churches with the loss of 501(c)(3) status if they met real needs of illegal immigrants.

Was this man supposed to be a "freedom-loving Republican?"

I don't hate illegal immigrants, although we need to stop illegal immigration the best way we can. Yet, I do wonder why some "conservatives" seem to hate illegal immigrants more than they love freedom and our Constitutional heritage.

I'm not interested in the philosophy that says, "Statism is the only solution to Illegal Immigration."

Consider this Oklahoma requirement (a haunting remnant from Washington's failed "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" bill:
As of July 2008, businesses will have to check new employees' work authorization with federal databases.

In order for such an instantly-accessible database to work, everyone will have to be in it. This will necessitate branding every American citizen (maybe with biometrics?) in order to ensure that the government has the correct electronic ball-and-chain on the correct citizen.

Enter the "necessity" of the REAL ID Act.

Remember, the REAL ID Act is more than just a "secure card." It is an entire infrastructure supporting a National ID Card:

-A National ID Database (50 state databases linked into 1 network),
-Machine-readable technology (hand-held scanners--to scan anyone, anytime.),
-Codes about an individual's "acceptability" for work, travel, banking, and potentially much, much more.

Without the electronic ball-and-chain, the individual cannot function at various levels of society.

Are not Americans supposed to be a free people?
Then why do we have to live with constant, real-time, electronic, governmental permission to function?

Is totalitarianism the only correct response to illegal immigration?

I thought Americans were smarter than this.

I thought "conservative" Republicans would be better than this.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Is Real ID plan on its deathbed?

Anne Broache at CNETNews.com asks Is Real ID plan on its deathbed?
The U.S. government's controversial plan to outfit all Americans with uniform electronic identification cards--officially known as Real ID--may be on its deathbed, opponents of the program charged this week.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has long said that starting as soon as May 2008, and definitely after May 2013, it will deny state citizens the right to board planes or enter federal buildings unless they show Real ID-compliant documents.

But on a recent conference call with state officials from across the country, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Richard Barth gave the impression that the agency doesn't plan to punish states that have rejected the rules, according to Timothy Sparapani, senior legislative counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union, and Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap.

"To me, this signals the real end of the Real ID Act because it prevents the government from having any leverage over the states," Sparapani said in a conference call his group organized with reporters Thursday afternoon.

But DHS denies that REAL ID is going to go away.

If you're interested, read more here.

Just a reminder: REAL ID is more than just a "secure card." It is an entire infrastructure of a National ID Card (linked to every aspect of our live's via SSN's), machine-readable technology (the easier to scan us with, anywhere & anytime...), codes about an individual's "acceptability" for work, travel, and banking...

And nobody-knows-how-many codes will be attached to the individual for the sake of bureaucratic control.

Are not Americans supposed to be a free people? Then why do we have to live our lives with constant/ real-time permission from the government to function?

Where are all the freedom-loving, Constitution-quoting, so-called "conservatives?"